Review: Fullmetal Alchemist #3 by Hiromu Arakawa


Contains Spoilers

Edward, Al, and Armstrong are on their way to the boys’ hometown so Ed’s auto-mail can be repaired after his arm was destroyed in the fight with Scar. I enjoyed this lull in the tense drama of the series. Their hometown is isolated and idyllic. Pinako and Winry helped them after they dabbled into forbidden alchemy, and it’s obvious that there is a great deal of affection between all of them. These chapters are also a great opportunity to catch your breath, because the rest of the volume is one shocking revelation after another, followed by lengthy fight sequences.

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Review: Fullmetal Alchemist #2 by Hiromu Arakawa

May Contain Spoilers

As Edward and Al continue their quest to get their original bodies back, they encounter danger, and see how far a desperate alchemist will go to keep his license.

This volume broadens the examination of the dark side of alchemy and the theory of equivalent exchange. What is the life of young girl worth, when her father has run out of options in his research? When he does the unthinkable, Edward realizes how close to the edge of darkness he came during his efforts to perform forbidden alchemy. Does it matter that he only wanted to see his mother again? When you look at what he lost, his brother’s body, as well as his arm and leg, for what he got, a lump of flesh that couldn’t even be called human, the price seems steep indeed. The whole system is rigged to so that the truly power hungry are willing to sacrifice the unthinkable to bend the rules. Alchemy can do so much good, but in the hands of the wrong person, it can corrupt absolutely.

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Review: Fullmetal Alchemist by Hiromu Arakawa

 

May Contain Spoilers

I am rereading these; I don’t think I ever finished reading the series. Grabbed the first 9 volumes at the library (it was easier than digging through boxes to find my copies!). I love the concept of equivalent exchange and that magic has a cost. In order to get something through magic, you must be able to sacrifice something equally as valuable. When Ed and Al try to bring their mother back from the dead, their sacrifice isn’t nearly enough to revive her. Al loses his body, and Edward loses a leg. In order to get his brother back, Edward must sacrifice his arm; all he gets in return is Al’s soul, which he bonds to an empty suit of armor.

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Review: Walk on Earth a Stranger by Rae Carson

 

May Contain Spoilers

Review:

I loved this book. Lee is forced to flee her home after her parents are murdered. Disguising herself as a boy, she heads west during the Gold Rush. Keeping her ability to sense gold a secret, as well as her true identity, she begins a dangerous, life changing adventure that teaches the meaning of trust, friendship, and courage. Lee is a wonderful, empowering character who learns to take charge of her own destiny, and works selflessly to ensure the survival of everyone in her wagon train to California.

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Review: The Black Stallion by Walter Farley

 

 

May Contain Spoilers

Review:

I am often reluctant to reread childhood faves, because as I’ve aged, my reading tastes have changed.  Since The Black Stallion was written almost 80 years ago, the age of the novel also gave me pause.  I impulsively checked it out of the library anyway (I do have an ancient hardcover copy somewhere in my own book collection, but it’s so much easier to read a digital copy).  I remember the first book in the series being one of my least favorites, but after finishing it again, a gazillion years after my first outing with the Black and Alec, I must have remembered incorrectly.  I can’t see how later books can top the excitement and adrenaline rush of this one.

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Spotlight and Giveaway: Wild Sky by Suzanne and Melanie Brockmann

Message From The Authors Suzanne and Melanie Brockmann

MelWild Sky is a paranormal story, set in Florida, approximately fifty years in the future. In this world, a small percentage of people, mostly girls and young women, are born with a chemical in their blood that gives them superpowers like telekinesis or extraordinary strength.

Suz: Nicknamed “Greater-Thans” or “G-Ts,” these girls have been targeted for kidnapping by bad guys who harvest their blood and use it to manufacture a drug called “Destiny.” Destiny is extremely expensive, highly addictive, and ultimately fatal, but before the user dies from it, the drug reverses the aging process, heals illness and injury, and gives the addict super powers, too.

Mel:  It’s pretty scary stuff!  Oh, and just an FYI: Although Wild Sky is the sequel to Night Sky, you don’t have to read Night Sky for Wild Sky to make sense!

Suz:  All you really need to know is that in Night Sky sixteen-year-old Skylar Reid discovers that she’s a Greater-Than with some serious superpowers. 

Mel: And that Sky and her best friend Calvin–a really upbeat kid who’s spent most of his life in a wheelchair–have some dangerous adventures with another tough-girl G-T named Dana, and Dana’s extremely (ahem) attractive sidekick Milo.

Suz: Sky and Milo really hit it off, so in Wild Sky, they’re a bit of an item.

Mel:  A bit! In Wild Sky, Sky and her friends get into more trouble as they search for Dana’s sister, Lacey, who disappeared years ago and has been presumed dead.

Suz: But now Sky’s got reason to believe Lacey’s being held captive in a Destiny “farm.”  And of course, high jinks ensue, and our beloved character Calvin is put into extreme danger–although throughout most of it, he holds onto his crazy sense of humor!

Mel: We both love Calvin very much!

Suz: And Sky does, too!  When we developed the Night Sky series, we wanted to center it around a main character we could easily relate to. And even though we grew up in very different circumstances –

Mel: Mom has an older sister, I have a younger brother. My dad was a lawyer, my mom a writer. My mom’s parents were both teachers.

Suz: I grew up listening to the Beatles –

Mel: Christina Aguilera.

Suz:  Watching Star Trek.

Mel: Full House.

Suz: Paul Newman!

Mel: Bradley Cooper!

Suz: But despite all of those superficial differences, Mel and I shared experiences far too common to teenage girls. Waves of self-doubt, with occasionally soul-crushing periods of insecurity.

Mel: Yet even at our lowest moments, we knew that there were things we were really good at.

Suz: And that’s where Sky came from. A young woman whose primary goal is to fit in with her peers, but whose G-T status makes that virtually impossible. Or so she believes.

Mel: Of course, her friends recognize Sky for who she really is – a funny, loyal young woman with a huge heart — whose superpowers only add to her awesomeness.  But for Skylar, nothing comes easy. Everything seems to be on shaky ground – her budding romantic relationship with Milo, her ability to help Dana find Lacey, even her friendship with Calvin.

Suz: It’s that very human mix of vulnerabilities and strengths that make Skylar so special.

Mel: We hope readers see Wild Sky as not just a really exciting, action-packed adventure, but a story about Skylar’s quest – and really every teenage girl’s quest — to own her awesome.

Suz: Because we truly believe that everyone is born with abilities that – no matter how seemingly small or insignificant — should be recognized and celebrated! It is our differences that make us Greater-Than.

Wild Sky Excerpt

I wish I could say I’d never witnessed a windshield shatter before, but I’d been in a terrible car accident a few years back, so I knew exactly what it looked and sounded like.

There’s a weird silence that happens immediately after something like that, in which everything seemed to occur in slo-mo. I forced my mouth to move.

“Gunshot!” I shouted, because I could see both Cal and Garrett looking wildly around, trying to process exactly what that noise was and what had just happened. “Bullet to car window! Over to the right.”

The broken windshield belonged to a beat-up sedan parked two slots down from us in the Sav’A’Buck lot. Someone had fired a gun, just once, probably from somewhere near the grocery store’s front doors, judging from that broken front window. Shards of glass made tinkling sounds as they careened off the front of the car and onto the pavement.

“Gunman at the store door, get down get down get down!” Calvin shouted, and I stupidly turned to look instead of diving onto the floor of his car, and he grabbed me by the shirt and yanked me down just as the shooter must’ve flipped the switch from one shot to massacre, and the gun began going off, popping bullets through the air.

BOOM BOOM BOOM POP BOOM!

I braced for them to hit Cal’s car, covering my head as I prepared for a rain of glass, but the man with the giant gun must’ve been pointing it in a different direction, because I heard the ping of punctured metal and breaking glass, but it wasn’t from our car.

I could hear someone screaming—high-pitched and frantic—even as Garrett yelled, “Calvin, drive!”

“Don’t,” I told Cal as I closed my eyes and focused on that glimpse I’d seen before he’d pulled me to relative safety.

Single gunman. Carrying…

A big gun. And something else…?

I focused on calling up the image, and yes, he was carrying some- thing under his left arm, some kind of brightly colored sack, with his assault rifle tucked into his right elbow—this tall, broad man, maybe twenty years old, buzz cut, scar above his eyebrow.

That screaming—it had been a child’s voice. She was silent now, but I realized with a flash that I hadn’t seen a colorful bag but instead the cheerfully patterned clothing of a little girl. That man with the gun was abducting a little girl. And I bet I knew why.

“Gimme!” I said and reached back to grab one of the water guns from beside Garrett.

“Sky!” Cal exclaimed. “Don’t—”

I didn’t wait to hear what he thought I shouldn’t do. I’d yanked my hood up over my head, hiding my red hair and as much of my face as I could, and I was already out of the car and on the asphalt, heading toward the man who was still firing that gun. He was using it not to kill, thank goodness, but to keep the little girl’s family from following him. I could see with just one glance that she was unconscious, as he tossed her none too carefully into the passenger seat of his shiny black Bimmer. He had a nice car. And I was pretty sure I knew how he’d paid for it—by kidnapping little girls like this one, like Sasha, too, and selling them to the Destiny makers.

Mother. Effer.

Hey! ” I belted out. But my voice was buried beneath the cacophony of his weapon. I had to move fast, or he was going to get into his snazzy car and that little girl would be gone.

I took a deep breath and concentrated. Water versus bullets? Not normally much of a contest there.

But I could do this. Couldn’t I?

Suddenly, I heard Dana’s voice in my head, shouting Fail! Fail! What are you doing, Bubble Gum? You have no backup, you have no plan!

What was I doing? This was insane.

Still thoughts. I closed my eyes and pictured Milo. I breathed him, I felt him, I heard him. Still thoughts, Sky. Just let it go

And in that moment in which I was specifically not thinking about what I was about to do or what the consequences would be if I failed, I felt and then saw my enormous pile of plastic water pistols—there were sixteen of them total—shoot out from the backseat of Calvin’s car and through the passenger side window that I’d left open. They streamed toward me like metal particles toward a magnet.

Then, just as quickly, all but one—a little green one—swooped in front of me before lining up and hovering in midair.

The little green plastic water gun zoomed over to the man with the real gun and smacked him in the face.

“What the hell…?” He fumbled his weapon as he turned to see me standing there—me and that collection of water guns—and his eyes widened.

“Holy shit, Sky!” With the noise from the assault weapon silenced, I could hear Garrett shouting, and I winced inwardly because he’d used my name.

But whatever he said next was muffled, and Cal’s voice rang out instead. “Hoshitski, look out!”

It was an intentional misdirect, and I tried to stand like a Hoshitski might, no doubt surly from years of being teased. I pitched my voice lower and ordered, “Drop it! Now!”

The gunman’s wide eyes narrowed, and we both knew he wasn’t going to drop his weapon, so before he could turn and kill me, I let loose my TK and blasted him. All of those plastic guns shot water from their barrels with the intensity of sixteen narrow but powerful fire hoses, and it sent the man down onto the ground so hard that I heard his head as it smacked against the pavement.

The gun he’d been holding clattered to the ground.

All of my weapons ceased water-fire and dropped onto the pavement in front of the unconscious shooter.

The silence that followed was eerie. I felt a little dazed, standing there with a single, silly-looking pink water gun still in my hand, staring at the downed man and his big real gun, and then over at the bullet-riddled storefront of the Sav’A’Buck.

Book Information

Title: Wild Sky

Authors: Suzanne and Melanie Brockmann

Release Date: October 6, 2015

Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire

Genre: Young Adult (Paranormal)

Book Cover: Attached

Author Photo: Attached

Summary

Skylar is a girl with extraordinary power. A girl with a mission to use her Greater-Than gifts to stop the makers of Destiny from getting people hooked on their deadly drug. But Sky is still mastering her new abilities, and her first mission to destroy a Destiny lab leaves her best friend addicted to the drug. For a few days Cal will be able to walk again – until it kills him. Time is running out for Sky to save the world without sacrificing her friends, to become truly Greater-Than…

Buy Links

Amazon –  http://bit.ly/YAWild

Barnes and Noble – http://bit.ly/1WpnUkB

iBooks – http://apple.co/1PFLKEO

Biography

Suzanne Brockman, a New York Times and USA Today bestselling romance author, has won 2 RITA awards, numerous RT Reviewers’ Choice, and RWA’s #1 Favorite Book of the Year three years running. She has written over 50 books, and is widely recognized as a “superstar of romantic suspense” (USA Today). Suzanne and her daughter, Melanie Brockmann, have been creative partners, on and off, for many years. Their first project was an impromptu musical duet, when then-six-month-old Melanie surprised and delighted Suz by matching her pitch and singing back to her. Suzanne splits her time between Florida and Massachusetts while Mel lives in Sarasota, Florida. NIGHT SKY is Mel’s debut and Suzanne’s 55th book. Visit Suzanne at www.SuzanneBrockmann.com.

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Review: Vengeance Road by Erin Bowman

May Contain Spoilers

Review:

I’m so glad my local library received this book so soon after release date!  I actually had an eARC, but a Kindle version wasn’t available, and I could not get the ePUB file to load on my iPad.  Talk about frustrating!  Vengeance Road was probably my most anticipated summer read, and having that broken file on my tablet was driving me nuts.  Turns out the library saved the day!  This book is so good, I urge you to run to your own library and borrow it right away!

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Review: The Girl Who Could Fly by Victoria Forester

May Contain Spoilers

Review:

I read The Girl Who Could Fly because I received a copy for a blog tour.  I love middle-grade books, and since it’s been a while since I read one, I was excited to start this.  I loved the author’s voice, especially while Piper is still at the family farm.  She’s a surprise to her older, salt of the earth parents, and when the lively, happy Piper is born, they are taken aback.  They are, while not joyless folk, serious and dedicated to the land that has been in the family for generations.  They don’t need much and are content to get by, farming the land, tending their livestock, and fitting, uneventfully, into their community. 

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